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And now, those six days which were to have run out so slowly, had run out fast and were gone, and to-morrow looked me in the face more steadily than I could look at it. As the six evenings had dwindled away, to five, to four, to three, to two, I had become more and more appreciative of the society of Joe and Biddy. (19.102)
One of the coolest things about Great Expectations is how accurately it conveys the way we experience time. Dumped on your wedding day? Boy, does time seem to slow down. Anticipating a big, exciting move and worried about leaving behind your entire family? It's here before you know it.
"The marriage day was fixed, the wedding dresses were bought, the wedding tour was planned out, the wedding guests were invited. The day came, but not the bridegroom. He wrote her a letter—"
"Which she received," I struck in, "when she was dressing for her marriage? At twenty minutes to nine?"
"At the hour and minute," said Herbert, nodding, "at which she afterwards stopped all the clocks." (22.55)
It's easy to roll your eyes at Miss Havisham for being way dramatic—it's just a wedding, get over it, lady—but it really does effectively end her life. In nineteenth-century England, being dumped like this is social homicide.
If the wind and the rain had driven away the intervening years, had scattered all the intervening objects, had swept us to the churchyard where we first stood face to face on such different levels, I could not have known my convict more distinctly than I knew him now, as he sat in the chair before the fire. (39.28)
Time may be powerful—but it's not powerful enough to erase memories. Is Great Expectations saying that memory is the most important force?